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Empowering Women Will Improve Food Security, U.N. Expert Says

“Governments must adopt food security strategies that empower women as this is an effective way to reduce hunger and malnutrition, a United Nations expert said” Monday, the U.N. News Centre reports. “‘Sharing power with women is a shortcut to reducing hunger and malnutrition, and is the single most effective step to realizing the right to food,’ the special rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva,” the news service writes. “De Schutter said one of the measures that must be implemented immediately is the removal of all discriminatory laws and practices that prevent women from accessing farming resources such as land, inputs, and credit,” and he “called for women to be relieved of the burdens of care responsibilities in the home through the provision of adequate public services such as childcare, running water, and electricity,” according to the news service (3/4).

“De Schutter’s big idea — outlined in his Gender and Food Security (.pdf) report, which was submitted to the human rights council on Monday — is to persuade governments that the empowerment and education of women is a secret weapon against food insecurity, a low-cost way to significantly reduce hunger and malnutrition,” the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” reports. The recommendations in the report “include greater state investment in women to liberate them from the burdens of the care economy; a redefinition of gender roles, particularly in terms of employment and social protection programs; and the mainstreaming of gender concerns into policymaking,” the newspaper notes (Roopanarine, 3/5).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.